This Dusty Earth: Witchcraft in the City

A blog about mental health, magic, and the cycles of nature in parched Los Angeles.

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On Long Nights and Scarcity

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Last week I traveled up to Northern California for work. On the day of my early meeting--8:30 a.m.!--I woke up in my hotel room at 6 and saw a pitch-black sky.

It wasn't a huge surprise (although I'd come from the south, where the nights were still a bit shorter). As I showered and got ready, though, and the clock ticked from 6:30 to 7 to 7:30 and the sky remained black, I had one of those random, strange thoughts that sometimes pop into your head. I thought, what if the sun just doesn't rise today?

Plot twist! It rose. But not until after I'd left the hotel and reached my destination.

This weekend, of course, Daylight Savings ended and when I woke up this morning, it was to the sight of a gorgeous blue sky. Hurray! But then, this afternoon, the sun had set and the sky was black by the time my car left the parking garage.

I'm 34 and this happens every year, so you'd think I'd be used to it by now. But no, I'm not. Every year, right around Samhain and the end of DST, the mornings and nights suddenly seem to close in around me. Every year I have the same realization: the days actually are getting shorter!

I've been thinking a lot, lately, about the concept of scarcity. I recently read an article that described the free time of parents (particularly mothers) as "time confetti:" itty bitty patches of free time here and there throughout the day. It's probably the best description of parental time I've ever read. I find the same phenomenon at work--little tiny snatches between meetings and classes and shifts at the reference desk. Not even enough time to pull out my book and read.

The other day I broke down in tears because I have to cram everything I love into that time confetti: meditation, card reading, book reading, knitting, writing, drumming, medicine-making, spell-crafting. Today, at a lecture I attended, a historian talked about the tight relationship between scarcity and war. Human beings have always experienced scarcity: scarcity of food, scarcity of resources. I've heard some radicals claim that scarcity is a complete construction of Capitalism; that without Capitalism, every conceivable resource would be abundant. While I do think it's clear that Capitalism is responsible for most of the scarcity we experience today (see my essay on the farce that is the 40-hour workweek), I think some kinds of scarcity are a part of life on earth. If you live far from the equator, there simply will not be much daylight during the winter. If you live where it snows, the ground will simply not produce as much food. Yes, of course you can light candles and stock your storehouses. But, as our hunter-gatherer and agrarian ancestors knew quite keenly, there will always be the chance of a night when your stomach will growl and morning will seem far away.

I wish I had some simple, elegant advice for doing away with those times when you have less than you need. We can resist Capitalism with all our strength, of course. As Yule comes around we'll light our lights and sing back the sun. And cultivating gratitude is always a worthwhile practice.

Maybe the easiest thing you can do is remember that darkness, too, is Goddess. After all, it's what allows you to see the stars.

May your winter be filled with cozy fires, delicious cider, and lots and lots of magic!

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Asa is a sliding-scale tarot reader, intuitive, and witch blending pellar craft with animism and earth-based Judaism. Instagram: @theRedTailWitch


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